The good news is that Percy Jackson is back. The bad news is that the movie will be confusing if you aren’t into the story, or if you can’t remember who Hermes or Athena are.

My granddaughter enjoyed the Percy Jackson book series, but partly because I tell her stories, including stories from mythology, so that when she saw the first movie, where Percy faced the Monitor, or Chiron turned out to be a centaur, she was already familiar with what these things were. Yet I wonder how many modern kids are familiar with Greek mythology (or the Biblical stories for that matter) in school systems where political correctness seems to be behind the choice of books.

In the first movie, Percy well played by Logan Lerman, is a geeky kid with ADHD and dyslexia who goes around with a clueless look on his face. Percy finds that he is actually the son of Poiseidon and has to flee for his life to Camp Halfblood, where he will be safe from monsters who go around trying to kill demigods, the sons and daughters of the Greek gods, The gods, by he way, have left Greec and have moved Mount Olympus to the top of the Empire State building and are running the civilized world from there.

In the first movie, Percy is accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt, and by finding who really stole it prevents a major war on Mt. Olympus.

Fast forward to the second film. In this one, someone (Luke, the turncoat half blood of the first film) has poisoned the tree that controls the force field protecting the Camp.  (backstory: The tree was a fallen daughter of Zeus, killed while protecting her friends and turned into a tree as a memorial, and as part of a new protection system for the camp).
The only way to cure the tree is to steal the Golden Fleece, which is hidden in the Sea of Monsters (aka the Bermuda triangle).and along the way they have to fight bad cyclops, a renegade demigod Luke who is helping Titan to reincarnate (he’s a bad guy), get out of Charybdis’ stomach, and of course steal the fleece.

The film turns into a routine quest movie, and like most sequels, is probably confusing to those who don’t know the backstory. And then there are lots of references who will be lost on those who didn’t study Bullfinch’s Mythology in school. Who is Charybdis, why is a cyclops Percy’s half brother, what is a hippocampus, who is Titan, and why do the three old lady cabdrivers have only one eye between them?

Luckily, most non geeks would know Charybdis from the monster in the return of the Jedi or in the Fellowship of the ring: big mouth to eat you my dear. Ah but how many understand why Clarice can command a confederate ironclad manned by zombie sailors? (hint: her father is the god of war). And how many non geeks would laugh when the messenger god Hermes (Nathon Fillion) now runs a UPS store in the modern version, remarks about all the good TV series being canceled…

A routine story you’ve seen a million times before, but with a bit more humor, and this time the hero is the geeky Percy who has ADHD and is dyslexic, not a superman or especially smart.

So if you are an adult, and not into the series, it’s probably not worth your time: however, if you have an ADHD kid who needs to have a role model, or if you want to make your kids interested in ancient Greek mythology, well, the series is just the thing for you.

Take them to the film, then buy them the books (and a copy of Bullfinch’s mythology for reference).

I give it a three out of five.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines





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